This article comes from Vindy.com.
Online Dogster.com friends come to aid of family
The Shermans’ online friends stepped up to help pay for the surgery.
NEW SPRINGFIELD Springfield Township resident Roxanna Sherman, 37, didn’t realize how many friends she had until early November when her beloved dog, Jester, fell prey to an eye disease that would require surgery.
The Jack Russell terrier’s ailment couldn’t have come at a worse time, Sherman said. Her husband, Derek, a union electrician, had been laid off earlier in the year, not long after the couple bought a new home.
Given their financial situation, Sherman said it was “no surprise” when she and her husband, who live on Columbiana Road, were denied credit to fund the $500 operation Jester desperately needed.
“I didn’t know what we were going to do,” she said. “To sit there and watch someone that you love in pain is terrible.”
That’s when Sherman turned to Dogster.com, a social networking site for pet lovers that allows users to create profiles for their four-legged friends.
Only a few months earlier, Sherman had uploaded images of Jester and her other two dogs, posting details about their dispositions and creating an individual bio for each animal. The Web site, which claims 260,000 members from 16 countries, allowed her to “chat” with other pet owners about day-to-day issues with dog care, she said.
“It’s like a support group really,” Sherman said.
So naturally, when the Shermans began gathering personal items to auction on eBay for Jester’s surgery, Jester’s online friends were among the first to know.
Outpouring of help
“I just casually mentioned that we were going to be starting an eBay auction,” she said, “and within a couple of hours I started getting messages from people saying they wanted to help.”
A dog toy here, a camcorder there, soon Jester’s 110 online “pals” had donated enough items to help the Shermans pay for Jester’s surgery twice.
No one was more surprised by the outpouring of support than Sherman herself.
“I cried; we laughed,” Sherman said. “It really touched my heart.”
Last week, Jester returned from the vet, sans one of his eyes, but feeling better, said Sherman.
“He’s still a little touchy,” she said. “But he’s moving around a lot better than he was before the surgery.”
Jester is once again playing with the Shermans’ two other Jack Russell terriers.
Derek Sherman has returned to work, although he was forced to accept a significant pay cut. Roxanna Sherman said the family is “getting by.”
Although Jester is beginning to heal, Sherman hasn’t forgotten the friends that came to his aid, known to her only as pictures on a screen.
She said she is planning to start a nonprofit group to provide grant money for the owners of ill pets who can’t afford their veterinary bills.
Jester’s story is creating quite a buzz on Dogster.com, as well. Sherman titled her story “Our Christmas Miracle.” Since it was posted in late December, the blog has received nine “woofs.”
“You hear so many bad things about the Internet,” Sherman said. “You very rarely hear something like this.
“To sit there and watch strangers step forward and ease the pain from someone that you love is absolutely amazing.”
Begun in 2004, Dogster.com and its sister site Catster.com host about 300,000 pet pages, according to the Web site. The sites allow users to join pet-focused forums, post pet-supply classified ads and online diaries for their pets and award dogs and cats cyber “treats.”